Stephen Colbert began Tuesday’s live episode of The Late Show by adding more fuel to the fire that has dominated headlines since Monday night, when Melania Trump appeared to plagiarize portions of her Republican National Convention speech from Michelle Obama’s at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
“Personally, I don’t think Mrs. Trump is to fault at all,” Colbert said, claiming that his show had “secured the first exclusive appearance by Mrs. Trump to address the controversy.”
Although the woman who appeared next on camera looked quite similar to Mrs. Trump, it was actually Laura Benanti, a Broadway star and television actress. On his show back in May, Colbert pointed out Benanti’s eerie resemblance to Mrs. Trump.
“I’m gonna have a second career as an impersonator,” Benanti said in May, though she admitted that she had not yet heard Mrs. Trump speak.
But on Tuesday’s show, Benanti fulfilled that months-old prophecy by nailing an impersonation of Mrs. Trump.
In her speech, Benanti/the faux Mrs. Trump refuted the claims of plagiarism by using famous quotes from books and television shows, including Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and the Beastie Boys’ song “Fight for Your Right.”
“I would never do such a thing…because I learned honesty during my humble upbringing,” Benanti said, “in West Philadelphia, born and raised.”